I'm interested in how some of you powerusers organize your email. Maybe you can help me come up with a better way, or maybe my way is good enough. I thought it would be an interesting discussion.
I'm the kind of person that hasn't deleted an email since I started using email about 10 years ago. I keep it all like a packrat because I consider it part of my personal history. However, as you can imagine, it gets a bit much. Here is my organizing philosophy, most of which is accomplished with automatic filtering, some of which is organized manually once or year:
--All of my personal correspondences (friends, family) go into a big "personal" folder. I don't subfilter at all, it's just one big block of email sorted by date. If I could thread it like newsgroups, I would, but it's impossible to thread email as well as newsgroups...I've seen no program that can do it (i think it's a limitation in the email protocol itself).
--Email that is not very personal that I consistently get on a large volume gets it's own folder. Examples of this are emails from discussion groups, or emails related to ebay/paypal, etc.
--I filter out annoying email or other stuff that is not necessarily spam, but still pretty annoying. This includes things like forwards, and group emails that are not addressed to me personally. They go into a "forwards" or "misc" folder depending on my algorithm.
--I also keep a two sets of archive folders. These apply only for my personal folder and outbox folder. Once a year, I make a new archive folder for that year, one for personal and one for outbox. I transfer all of that year's messages into the box. This way, it keeps my personal and outbox mailbox a manageable size and I can always go back and check out older messages I have sent/recieved.
So that is how I do it, I'd be interested in how some of you do it. I know I have some friends who sort out their emails in separate folders for each contact. That's a little bit too much for me because then I lose the overall chronological feel to the messages. Also, most of friends don't save all of their email, just a few that they really want.